• China and the U.K. are working hand in hand to boost their diplomatic ties.

China and the U.K. are working hand in hand to boost their diplomatic ties. (Photo : REUTERS)

BP Plc, an oil and gas giant, is expected to close energy deals with Chinese firms during the ongoing state visit of President Xi Jinping to the United Kingdom.

The signing of agreements is part of the two countries' beefed-up efforts to foster greater energy cooperation.

Dev Sanyal, BP's executive vice president for strategy and regions, remarked that they "see great potential for enhanced cooperation and collaboration between both sides," adding that the "agreements will demonstrate [their] long-standing commitment to China."

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During Premier Li Keqiang's official visit to the U.K. last year, BP inked a $20-billion deal to supply liquefied natural gas to China National Offense Oil Corp.

For experts, the heightened cooperation will also likely to include clean energy technologies and crude trade.

Sanyal cited there is a big potential for natural gas as a clean source of energy, pointing out that China has set an ambitious target of reducing its greenhouse gas emissions per GDP unit by 60 to 65 percent by 2030.

"In the past decade, China has been among the fastest-growing gas markets globally. We believe that with the continuing expansion of the Chinese economy and China's environmental focus, the momentum in gas demand growth will continue in the long run," he said.

BP has been working hand in hand with China's "big three" oil firms: the China Petrochemical Corporation (Sinopec), the China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC).

Apart from energy deals, Sanyal also stated that Xi's visit, which is a "historic event" marking the "start of a 'golden era' in China-U.K. relations," can create more business opportunities for the two countries.